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World powers offer US$1.9b to fight bird flu
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-19 06:24

Lee Jong-wook, director-general of the World Health Organization, said there must be visible improvement in control of avian influenza and pandemic preparedness by countries, technical agencies, and all others involved.

"It won't happen without money," Lee said. "Money is not the answer to every question. But without it, little can be done."

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that to be truly prepared, the world needs to mount a massive effort, from upgrading veterinary systems and launching vaccination drives, to encouraging change in the ways people co-exist with animals.

"Please bear in mind that the amount asked for is small compared to the cost human and economic of a pandemic we are not ready for," Annan said in a taped speech delivered at the conference.

Aside from allocating funds for action in resource-poor countries, yesterday's meeting also stressed co-operation and partnership.

Addressing the gathering in the morning, Premier Wen Jiabao proposed establishing a global co-operation mechanism on bird flu prevention and control.

"As a responsible member of the international community, China will continue to actively participate in international efforts, share our experience, and help fight avian influenza," he said. Wen also said that China is ready to co-operate with countries and international organizations to develop effective vaccines and drugs against bird flu.

A major outcome of the meeting the Beijing Declaration underlined that a long-term strategic partnership should be built between the international community and the affected or at-risk countries.

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